Velvet was the night

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book - 2021

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a riveting noir about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome thug, and the mystery of the missing woman that brings them together. 1970s Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intr...igue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman--and journeying deeper into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric thug who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance--and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music, and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the secrets behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies aiming to protect Leonora's secrets--at gunpoint"--

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Subjects
Genres
Noir fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Novels
Published
New York : Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC [2021]
Edition
First Edition
Language
English
Physical Description
284 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780593356821
0593356829
Main Author
Silvia Moreno-Garcia (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Moreno-Garcia, the author of acclaimed and best-selling speculative novels, including Mexican Gothic (2020), returns to noir crime fiction with a winner that brings together a romance-fiction-obsessed secretary and a lovelorn enforcer during the brutally suppressed student riots in 1970s Mexico City. Leonora, a neighbor, asks Maite, the secretary, to feed her cat, then makes a frenzied departure. Days go by, and Maite, fretting over the expense and inconvenience, starts asking around about Leonora. Elvis is doing the same. As part of a goon squad assembled to quash political activism, he needs to find Leonora before she can deliver photos to the press that she took during the riots. Soon, Maite is in way over her head when it is assumed that she is one of the dissidents, and Elvis begins to have doubts about his chosen path. They are both in danger from hired guns, government agents, and the KGB (!). Their stories of danger and passion run side by side in an enveloping narrative that is at once dark and bright. Maite's "litany of bitterness" shows in her face, and Elvis' eyes are "twin black abysses." Despite their failings, readers will be rooting for them and hoping they find some happiness, and, maybe, even, each other. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In Adams's debut, teenage library worker Aleisha shares The Reading List she's found (all scrunched up) with a widower trying to relate to his book-obsessed granddaughter (75,000-copy first printing). Alderson's Sisters in Arms tells the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only all-Black battalion of the Women's Army Corps during World War II (150,000-copy first printing). Buxton's Feral Creatures reintroduces us to S.T., the fabulously cheeky crow who starred in the multi-best-booked Hollow Kingdom. Ferguson, the Duchess of York, tells the Victorian-era story of Lady Margaret Montagu Scott in Her Heart for a Compass (150,000-copy first printing). Second in a spin-off from Hearne's New York Times best-selling "Iron Druid Chronicles" series, Paper & Blood features wily Scottish detective Al MacBharrais. In Jio's latest, Seattle-based librarian Valentina Baker receives news sent With Love from London that she's inherited an apartment and bookshop from the mother who abandoned her. Wealthy newcomers wreak havoc to the point of horror in a lakeside rural town in Bram Stoker Award winner Jones's My Heart Is a Chainsaw (100,000-copy first printing). New York Times best-selling Kadrey wraps up his iconic "Sandman Slim" series with the Shoggot gang, led by King Bullet, overrunning a virus-undone Los Angeles (75,000-copy first printing). Debuter Lange's We Are the Brennans features almost-30 Sunday Brennan returning from Los Angeles to New York to explain to both family and ex-fiancé why she left them five years ago (100,000-copy first printing). Author of the LJ best-booked Mexican Gothic, Moreno-Garcia returns with Velvet Was the Night, featuring a romance magazine-reading secretary in 1970s Mexico City obsessed with the disappearance of her beautiful next-door neighbor. Switching from big-hit dystopias, Mott sends his Black protagonist on one Hell of a Book tour in which he confronts police violence. In Pearce's Yours Cheerfully, first in a new series, advice columnist Emmeline Lake helps keep World War II London safe A(150,000-copy first printing). "Bridgerton" series author Quinn joins forces with her illustrator sister to create a graphic novel telling the story of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, first hinted at in the seventh book in the series (50,000-copy first printing). After a four-year renovation, Paris's glamorous Hotel Louis XVI reopens, with Steel allowing Complications to erupt. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In Adams's debut, teenage library worker Aleisha shares The Reading List she's found (all scrunched up) with a widower trying to relate to his book-obsessed granddaughter (75,000-copy first printing). Alderson's Sisters in Arms tells the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only all-Black battalion of the Women's Army Corps during World War II (150,000-copy first printing). Buxton's Feral Creatures reintroduces us to S.T., the fabulously cheeky crow who starred in the multi-best-booked Hollow Kingdom. Ferguson, the Duchess of York, tells the Victorian-era story of Lady Margaret Montagu Scott in Her Heart for a Compass (150,000-copy first printing). Second in a spin-off from Hearne's New York Times best-selling "Iron Druid Chronicles" series, Paper & Blood features wily Scottish detective Al MacBharrais. In Jio's latest, Seattle-based librarian Valentina Baker receives news sent With Love from London that she's inherited an apartment and bookshop from the mother who abandoned her. Wealthy newcomers wreak havoc to the point of horror in a lakeside rural town in Bram Stoker Award winner Jones's My Heart Is a Chainsaw (100,000-copy first printing). New York Times best-selling Kadrey wraps up his iconic "Sandman Slim" series with the Shoggot gang, led by King Bullet, overrunning a virus-undone Los Angeles (75,000-copy first printing). Debuter Lange's We Are the Brennans features almost-30 Sunday Brennan returning from Los Angeles to New York to explain to both family and ex-fiancé why she left them five years ago (100,000-copy first printing). Author of the LJ best-booked Mexican Gothic, Moreno-Garcia returns with Velvet Was the Night, featuring a romance magazine-reading secretary in 1970s Mexico City obsessed with the disappearance of her beautiful next-door neighbor. Switching from big-hit dystopias, Mott sends his Black protagonist on one Hell of a Book tour in which he confronts police violence. In Pearce's Yours Cheerfully, first in a new series, advice columnist Emmeline Lake helps keep World War II London safe A(150,000-copy first printing). "Bridgerton" series author Quinn joins forces with her illustrator sister to create a graphic novel telling the story of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, first hinted at in the seventh book in the series (50,000-copy first printing). After a four-year renovation, Paris's glamorous Hotel Louis XVI reopens, with Steel allowing Complications to erupt. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Moreno-Garcia (Mexican Gothic) steps away from her usual fantasy for this noir title that mixes history, star-crossed lovers, and political upheaval. In 1970s Mexico City, students are demonstrating against the corrupt government and demanding reform. Goon squads run by shadowy operatives use increasingly brutal methods to quash the protests. During this violent and dangerous time, Maite, a secretary who finds escapism in romance comics and rock and roll records, is cat-sitting for her neighbor Leonora. When Leonora disappears, Maite goes in search of her glamorous neighbor and enters Leonora's milieu of student activists and artists. She's not the only one hunting for Leonora. Elvis, a reluctant goon squad member and lonely heart who loves rock and roll and old movies, is sent by his boss to find Leonora and retrieve some incriminating photos. Surveilling her apartment building leads him to Maite, a kindred spirit. Will these two find each other—or even make it out alive? Moreno-Garcia keeps the suspense high and the action intense, all while sharing a bit of 1970s Mexican history in this perfectly pitched novel. VERDICT Fans of Moreno-Garcia's other novels will relish this title, as will noir aficionados and readers who like stories about everymen and -women rising to the occasion.—Liz French, Library Journal Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This seductive neo-noir thriller from bestseller Moreno-Garcia (Mexican Gothic) draws on the real-life efforts of the Mexican government to suppress political dissent in the 1970s. Maite, a 30-year-old secretary in Mexico City who feels life has passed her by, escapes from routine by reading the magazine Secret Romance, oblivious to the political upheaval around her. When her beautiful art student neighbor, Leonora, disappears, Maite, with the help of Rubén, Leonora's former lover, begins a search that takes her into the world of student radicals. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Elvis, muscle for a clandestine, government-funded shock troop employed to suppress student protests, longs for something more and wishes to escape his old life. When Elvis's boss assigns him to track down Leonora, his search crosses that of Maite, with whom he becomes fascinated. As the two get closer to discovering the reason behind Leonora's disappearance, they uncover secrets that shadowy forces, both domestic and foreign, will kill to protect. This is a rich novel with an engrossing plot, distinctive characters, and a pleasing touch of romance. Readers won't be able to put it down. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary. (Aug.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Two disparate characters find themselves hoping for a new life in Mexico City at the beginning of the 1970s. Elvis ran away from a small town after some police trouble and is now a 21-year-old Hawk, a gang that has been sent to keep tabs on student dissidents. Maite, a 30-year-old secretary, ignores the world that passes by outside in favor of one she can invent, spending her time reading Secret Romance, listening to and collecting records, and making up stories. These two will find the elements of a traditional noir, coming up against an attractive stranger as they each set out to find a girl who has gone missing. Only as the story progresses will they find out that the danger may lie not only with the side of the dangerous DHS agent, and the gangs, but also with the government that has hired them. Moreno-Garcia presents a gritty and enjoyable tale fictionalizing events after a student uprising. VERDICT A strong choice for readers for whom mature content or language is not a deterrent and who enjoy or film in the genre such as Fargo or The Black Dahlia.—Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Lib., Canada Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a riveting noir about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome thug, and the mystery of the missing woman that brings them together. 1970s Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman--and journeying deeper into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is also lookingfor Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric thug who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance--and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music, and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the secrets behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies aiming to protect Leonora's secrets--at gunpoint"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In 1970s Mexico City, Maite, a secretary with a penchant for romance novels, searches for her missing neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, which leads her to an eccentric gangster who longs to escape his own life, and together, they set out to discover the dangerous truth.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK • From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a simmering historical noir about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of the missing woman they’re both desperate to find.ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, New York Public Library, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, BookPage, She Reads, Library Journal • “An adrenalized, darkly romantic journey.”—The Washington PostMexico in the 1970s is a dangerous country, even for Maite, a secretary who spends her life seeking the romance found in cheap comic books and ignoring the activists protesting around the city. When her next-door neighbor, the beautiful art student Leonora, disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Mexico in the 1970s is a politically fraught land, even for Elvis, a goon with a passion for rock ’n’ roll who knows more about kidney-smashing than intrigue. When Elvis is assigned to find Leonora, he begins a blood-soaked search for the woman—and his soul.  Swirling in parallel trajectories, Maite and Elvis attempt to discover the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, encountering hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies. Because Mexico in the 1970s is a noir, where life is cheap and the price of truth is high.